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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

The Big Q Blog



Pay Attention

Using Stimulants Without a Prescription

Jill has always had trouble focusing. In middle school and high school, she has struggled to maintain her attention on class, homework, and other academic responsibilities. If not for her own determination and the encouragement of her parents, she probably would have never gone to college as she does now.

However, with midterms just around the corner, her inattentive tendencies are flaring worse than ever. And with poor grades after her first semester, she needs to do well on these tests to keep her GPA above her scholarship’s cutoff. Fortunately, a friend of hers, one familiar with Jill’s problems, has a prescription for Adderall and offers some to Jill so she can concentrate better during finals.

Jill only plans to take the pills this one time considering summer is so near. She doesn’t think she’s getting an advantage because her peers can already focus better than she can. She really needs higher grades this semester to keep her scholarship.

Is it all right if she takes some Adderall?


Is Using Study Drugs Cheating

Towards responsible use of cognitive-enhancing drugs by the healthy (Nature)

Framework for Ethical Decision Making


Photo by hipsxxheart available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License.